Local differentiation of sugar donor specificity of flavonoid glycosyltransferase in lamiales W

Akio Noguchi, Manabu Horikawa, Yuko Fukui, Masako Fukuchi-Mizutani, Asako Iuchi-Okada, Masaji Ishiguro, Yoshinobu Kiso, Toru Nakayama, Eiichiro Onoa

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99 Citations (Scopus)


Flavonoids are most commonly conjugated with various sugar moieties by UDP-sugar:glycosyltransferases (UGTs) in a lineage-specific manner. Generally, the phylogenetics and regiospecificity of flavonoid UGTs are correlated, indicating that the regiospecificity of UGT differentiated prior to speciation. By contrast, it is unclear how the sugar donor specificity of UGTs evolved. Here, we report the biochemical, homology-modeled, and phylogenetic characterization of flavonoid 7-Oglucuronosyltransferases (F7GAT), which is responsible for producing specialized metabolites in Lamiales plants. All of the Lamiales F7GATs were found to be members of the UGT88-related cluster and specifically used UDP-glucuronic acid (UDPGA). We identified an Arg residue that is specifically conserved in the PSPG box in the Lamiales F7GATs. Substitution of this Arg with Trp was sufficient to convert the sugar donor specificity of the Lamiales F7GATs from UDPGA to UDPglucose. Homology modeling of the Lamiales F7GAT suggested that the Arg residue plays a critical role in the specific recognition of anionic carboxylate of the glucuronic acid moiety of UDPGA with its cationic guanidinium moiety. These results support the hypothesis that differentiation of sugar donor specificity of UGTs occurred locally, in specific plant lineages, after establishment of general regiospecificity for the sugar acceptor. Thus, the plasticity of sugar donor vspecificity explains, in part, the extraordinary structural diversification of phytochemicals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1556-1572
Number of pages17
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009 May


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